Jessica's golden side return extension

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Jessica and her family are completely smitten with their newly renovated kitchen with a certain “wow” factor: the natural light has made an enormous difference to their family life. After purchasing their house six years ago, they knew they would eventually do a kitchen side return extension. After saving up, they began the renovation in September 2020.  Jessica explains, ‘Do I wish we’d done it sooner? Yes! But good things come to those who wait, and we are so, so grateful for this space now. Game-changer is a phrase that is bandied around a lot, but if there ever was a game changer for us, it’s this kitchen.’

The design

Jessica and her family decided not to spend their budget on creating a fancy architectural kitchen extension; maximising the space inside was most important.

They hired architect Trevor Fairman to draw up the plans. Due to local council height restrictions, they were worried that the ceilings were going to feel low and dark.

‘As soon as the VELUX roof windows went in, those worried melted away thanks to the enormous amount of light provided by them’, Jessica says.

The layout

The good thing about waiting almost six years to renovate the kitchen is that there is plenty of time to mull over inspiration.

The biggest issue with putting the kitchen on the chosen side was the low ceiling. Because of a bathroom above on the other side, there was no other option. The family ultimately decided to put a run of low cabinets under the roof windows, an island in the middle, and embraced the low ceilings on the other side by filling them with floor to ceiling cupboards for additional storage.

Jessica wanted to create two different but complimentary zones between the kitchen and the dining area; the aim was to have a space for socialising and entertaining. The built-in banquette seating is a great way to use the space and get lots of people around a table. The peninsula section of the kitchen acts as a connection between the kitchen and dining area and meant the banquette could wrap around the wall to create that all-important curve.

The kitchen

Jessica did extensive research before choosing John Lewis of HungerfordIt might look very simple, but there is a very clever bespoke run of carcasses housing a laundry cupboard, a stack of oak drawers, a pantry cupboard and a huge cupboard with shelves for all the crockery, All of this fits perfectly around the existing chimney breast, meaning no space is wasted.

Jessica and the family wanted a seamless, sleek, and understated design that lets the other materials speak for themselves. Working with to fine tune the space showed Jessica that employing a kitchen designer can be so helpful, as they consider all the details that the homeowner may not necessarily have in mind. The kitchen was fitted by One Call Solutions, who came recommended by John Lewis of Hungerford.

The Vario by VELUX roof windows

‘Our previous kitchen had very little natural light; as a result, no one wanted to spend time there’, notes Jessica.

Therefore, getting as much natural light as possible was a priority in this renovation. They planned for two large rectangular roof windows along the side return and a square one towards the rear. Once they got planning permission, they asked their architect Trevor what was the absolute maximum amount of glazing allowed.

Jessica went straight for the Vario by VELUX website to design bespoke roof windows to the exact size needed, using every last bit of glazing allowed! The bespoke nature of Vario by VELUX means she could tailor sizes exactly to her needs. Using the 3D configurator online, she also chose the frame colour and the type of glazing.

Builders James and Luke had never worked with them before and were impressed by the ease of fitting. Now it’s finished, Jessica loves to work in the kitchen and watch the light as it changes and moves throughout the day. Even listening to the rain feels epic!

The dream team 

There were so many people who were instrumental in building Jessica and family’s dream kitchen. They hired JA Whitney builders to carry out this renovation and are thrilled with the results. ‘Bearing in mind this renovation happened in the middle of a pandemic with homeschooling thrown in for good measure, it was really important that we had a good rapport with our builders; luckily that was the case!’ exclaims Jessica.

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